Beneficiaries Of PDP’s Rot Don’t Want Buhari To Return – Adiukwu
Mrs. Oluremi Adiukwu was a commissioner and one-time governorship candidate in Lagos State. In this interview, she speaks on President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid. OLALEKAN OSIADE reports
Some people are of the view that Nigerians will reject President Muhammadu Buhari at the polls in 2019. What is your take on that?
Nigerian voters are among the most enlightened electorate around the world, even our aged parents in the rural areas are more enlightened than we think when it comes to deciding who they vote for. So, those calling for change must tell the good people of Nigeria what they may not know about the gains of the present administration. It is the people who will decide. Come to think of it, the change they are calling for, who will it benefit? Is it the people of Nigeria who yearned for good governance for 16 years, while the PDP was in power, or a few PDP chieftains who are tired of life outside government just four years in the cold? I don’t think they are thinking about the people. I strongly think they are only calling for change to satisfy their desire to grab power again.
Check the list of people opposing the Buhari government; I mean look deep and see those calling for change today, they include parliamentarians, policemen, Customs officials, Immigration officials and civil servants, who benefited from the corruption of the past. They are unhappy with the honesty of the present government and are calling for change, so that they can go back to business as usual.
They are worried, not for you and me, but that another four years of Buhari will crumble whatever remains of their dreams of endlessly looting of the country. They are bothered that their hidden loots would be discovered. They are afraid of policies of the current government that has made it difficult for them to continue to steal from the people while pretending to be working for the people.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be getting more popular. Aren’t you worried about that as the clock ticks to the elections?
Nigerians will still reject PDP in 2019. Mark my words, PDP will perform worse than it did in 2015. The leaders of the party also know they cannot win. The process and outcome of their convention showed that they cannot win. They know Nigerians are yet to forget how they raped the country for 16 years. Buhari came and within three and a half years, he has done so much. I want to believe the change they are calling for will not happen because we already have the change we desire. So, to the best of my knowledge, Nigerians across the country are waiting to ask the PDP and its candidates a lot of questions, when they hit the streets to campaign for the 2019 general elections. It will be a time to answer for the many years of atrocities committed by that political party and its leaders against the people of this country. I am very confident that PDP and its flag-bearers would be rejected by Nigerian voters at the polls. I am waiting to hear what they will campaign with.
What on earth will they tell Nigerians? Will they come with the same promises they failed to fulfill in 16 years? Will they deny all the atrocities? I am sure Nigerians will never return PDP to power.
But the party is banking on its promise on restructuring to win the presidential election. Isn’t that a good strategy?
PDP can never restructure Nigeria and it is not good for the party to promise what it cannot do just because it wants to win election. I can say this categorically because I have been a chieftain of the PDP for many years. I operated at the very top of the party’s echelon for all those years. I was part of many decision making processes within the PDP and as such, I can say I know what the party and its chieftains hold dear. Restructuring is not one of the things PDP believes in. They can jump on the band wagon now and proclaim their readiness to restructure Nigeria for the purpose of deceiving people and winning elections. The leaders of the PDP and some of us, who were with them, but left because of their insincerity, know that PDP has no plan to restructure the country.
Importantly too, restructuring means different things to different people in Nigeria today. It is a term that is now being misunderstood. It is only due to this misunderstanding of the term that we will still be seeing people, who previously openly opposed the call for restructuring, now saying they plan to carry out restructuring. When APC was championing restructuring all these years, PDP opposed it. Why the sudden change in tune as election approaches? By the time you interview six people, you are likely going to have six diverse meanings and or explanations for the same word. For me, restructuring is another simple way of describing true federalism. The reorganisation of the status quo, hopefully, for a better result, is what I understand restructuring to mean. There is no better way to explain the term in the context of what Nigerians want and what Nigeria needs now than to equate it with true federalism.
It is not the same as mere constitutional amendment. It is far more than that. Constitutional amendment is one of the ingredients needed to make restructuring possible. There are others like referendum. For me, restructuring is more than just the redistribution of power, resources in the country. That is what this is all about to some people. That is why somebody can tell you resource control is the solution to the country’s problem. Others will say it is zoning that will solve all our problems. I don’t think so. I believe these are just part of the issues we need to consider when
discussing the whole issue. True federalism will address all these and more. So, Nigerians must be careful of what they believe. PDP cannot and will not carry out any restructuring even if it returns to power for 100 years. They had 16 years to do it, why didn’t they? APC has started the process; let us allow the current administration enough time to finish it.
The agitation for restructuring is as old as our democracy, if not older. Yet, no government has successfully addressed the call. But if you ask me, I will say before now, it has been a deliberate omission on the part of successive administrations. It is not possible to say that no government understood the call enough to address it. That was definitely not the case. Rather, I will say it is because the previous ruling parties benefit from the lopsided arrangements. With the centre as strong as it is, any ruling party would not be very eager to make a change. The power at the centre is quite enormous and anyone ruling will not want to whittle this down. Making the required change will need great selflessness and patriotism.
And what Nigeria lacked all along are selfless and genuinely patriotic leaders. Unless we put such people who will look beyond personal interest and group satisfaction and consider national interest above party interest, it will be difficult to get a ruling party or government that will holistically and genuinely address the agitation for restructuring. That is the difference now. President Buhari’s selflessness is making it possible for the current government to move fast, very fast, towards restructuring. To those who see nothing being done yet, I want to tell them to be more patient. If we have to do it, let us do it well once and for all. There is no better way than for us to sit down and discuss the issue as a people. That is the only way because it has become an issue in Nigeria and we cannot wish it away. It must be handled with maturity and wisdom. For once, the people must be allowed to say what they want. PDP cannot speak for Nigerians about restructuring.
The PDP says it has repositioned and rediscovered itself. Do you agree with the party on that?
By their fruits we shall know them. If truly they have repented of their sins as they say, many of us would not have left the party. Nigerians must beware, PDP cannot change. The impunity that ruined the party continued well beyond 2015. I was a candidate in the last convention of the party to elect national officers. We all know what transpired. A few people are still dictating the pace in PDP and such selfishness is driving people away from them. Those who had proved beyond any doubts that they have no good intentions towards the party are not being sanctioned. A few people will threaten to deal with the party and the whole party will go begging. They will quickly change their plan and agree to the dictate of just one person or group of persons irrespective of what the majority want.
If you now consider how money-for-votes and systematic rigging was brazenly perpetuated during their national convention, you will quickly remember that ‘a leopard cannot change its spot.’ At that convention, PDP got reduced to a regional party as the South-West chairmanship candidates were frustrated by in such brazen manner. The party is still not bigger than individuals or groups within the party. Those who want to be leaders through the courts are also not allowing the party to have peace. When they have ensured that impunity had been dealt with, and individuals or groups no longer dictate for the majority, they can say PDP is truly ready to repent of its terrible ways.